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Blog Move & New Site

Fellow devlog readers, we have moved our blog to a new location. If you want to stay up to date on the game, head over to http://contraptionmaker.com/blog/. This is in addition to our total revamp of the website. This new site is designed to try and explain the game more to people with no prior knowledge of the game. It also has a better foundation for more community expansion plans in the future. Check it out!

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Alpha 5 is Live

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Here it is, Alpha 5. I discussed this update fairly in depth in my last post for those of you that missed it. This was a crazy huge update that touched almost every file in the entire game. Unfortunately, because Kevin did his job correctly, not much difference can actually be seen. Pretty much everything that changed was under the hood. Even though you can’t really see the changes, you do get to play with copy & paste now.

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When you select a group of parts now, you can right click to clone the whole thing, or you can click the “copy to clipboard” button. This allows you to then paste the contraption group somewhere else. The cool part is that you aren’t limited to copy & pasting in your current contraption. You can open up a new one and paste it there. This allows people to make “component sheets” of commonly used contraptions, or things that they don’t want to have to build multiple times. They can also upload them to the workshop as contraptions so that other players can use them in their own creations. People were actually doing this back when we launched our Early Access, but copy & paste makes it much easier.

That’s it for this update. Like I said, it may not seem like much, but this has actually been a huge amount of work. To make up for the lack of cool looking stuff, there will be new art, puzzles, and shiny things in our next update. Stay tuned!

Major Fixes

-Physics engine has been converted from float to int.
-Groups of parts can be cloned with right click.
-Groups of parts can be copied to the clipboard and pasted elsewhere (even in a new contraption).
-Adjusted electrical cords so they don’t jump between outlets when more than one part are moved at the same time.
-Clicking the part help or goal buttons will now open and close windows instead of having to click the ‘X’ every time.
-Delete fully connected ropes and belts in a group so that ropes no longer have to be deleted twice.
-Fixed bug where attached ropes and belts were not deleted when the parent part was dragged out of a puzzle, causing the rope to become un-deletable.
-Massive performance increase on Mac version.

All Bug Fixes

-Added location goal to Milton Mouse.
-Initialized the electrical cord plug after cloning.
-Changed methodology of how auto plugin of electrical cords work.
-Make sure cloned part ids are always sorted.
-Fixed segment to segment collision check to fix laser being blocked by nothing. A side benefit is the code will be slightly faster. Laser beams are very long so they were more likely to have overflow problems.
-Bellows wind force is no longer 65536 times too high.
-Allowed Fishbowl to be flipped.
-Explosion now affects Tim correctly.
-Adjusted trigger angles on Steam Whistle so it is activated correctly.
-Fixed overflow when calculating offset to explosion on wall.
-Fixed max heat value for bomb’s fuse.
-Made sharp point of pin slightly larger.
-Added profiling to lots of places..
-Ensure identical temporary part ids across clients.
-Reset temporary object ids.
-Prevent clones from overlapping.
-Fixed part removal so it always occurs on the same frame that the mShouldRemove flag is set. Before it could be delayed to a later frame if a larger delta time was passed into level update.
-Fix memory leak in line batch sprite.
-Sin, Cos, and Exp routines that return same values on Windows and Mac.
-Fixed crash when cloning from an older level.
-Do not allow cloning when there are overlapping parts.
-Removed the rounding values from the fixed point routines.
-Temp hash id fixed to make cloned group of parts run exactly the same all the time for levels with less than 49,157 shapes in them.
-Fix for belts / ropes not disconnecting.
-Sort parts to clone before cloning so they go up by part number.
-Fixed Rotary Limit constraint value on Jack-in-the-Box.
-Fixed Dynamic Rope Segments to correctly handle larger values.
-Fixed Laser Beams to not overflow when calculating start and end points.
-Fixed quite a few sin/cos calculations in CMPart.cpp that were causing overflows.
-Fixed impulse and damping on Bottle Rockets, Rockets, and Missiles.
-Fixed calculation of location of Water Drop created by Dripping Bucket.
-Fixed Lawn Mower Motor’s handle’s rope attachment location to get rid of divide by zero error.
-Fixed CCDrawNode to use correct shader.
-Fixed trampoline missing message.
-Delete zone in puzzle mode includes being outside the window.
-Fixed belt attachment rotation speeds to work with new integer delta time values.
-Fixed bugs in a few places where integers were being treated as floats or floats were treated as ints. This cause some calculations to be off by 65536 times too large or to incorrectly round to zero.
-Fixed Waldo’s vision so it is slightly larger (works better).
-Fixed an overflow condition in Damped Rotary Spring that was causing very stiff spring-loaded trapdoors to vibrate instead of coming to rest.
-Fix rogue goals causing puzzle completion bug.
-Fixed animation bug where the first frame can get out of sync.
-Do not play an animation with one frame.
-Fixed various overflow type bugs.
-Make group cloning work in multiplayer.
-Prevent unlocked parts with goals from triggering completion.
-Fixed rectangle borders on the trapdoors.
-Fixed explosions to not overflow by using larger impulse ranges.
-Fixed speed imparted to Water Drops leaving Dripping Bucket.
-Fixed collision verts of broken Fishbowl (they were still in old smaller float range).
-Fixed force imparted by Pinball Bumper.
-Fixed bitmaps so they scale correctly in Punching Fist and Spring Trap Door.
-Fixed processExplosion in Wall so that the correct segments are destroyed by explosions.
-Fix for puzzle goals not all being checked if one has a timer.
-More fixed point defines and macros.
-New square root functions that return an int.
-Added an approximate distance routine.
-Changes to Dynamic Rope to be more efficient.
-Adjust Dynamic Rope Segments to run either floating point or int64 versions.

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January 10th Update & New Physics

The holidays have come and gone, and Contraption Maker process just keeps moving along. The Steam holiday sale was pretty exciting for us. We were actually in the running for a community flash sale vote! We didn’t end up winning, but it was closer than we anticipated it would be, and it gave us some front page exposure during the voting. We also ended up in a Youtube video that has over 200,000 views! It’s great to see more people finding out about Contraption Maker, and being really positive about it.

Kevin has finally emerged from his dark cave of physics programming with a new integer physics system. This was a massive overhaul and an amazing feat of work from Kevin. It’s still a little ways away from public consumption, but after a bit of internal testing it should be coming out to you guys.

What does this change really mean? This is going to make sure that Contraption Maker runs the same on every processor that it plays on. The game already runs fairly consistently between Mac and PC, but there are still a few issues that should go away. Also, we wont have to worry about all of the different mobile chips, the game will run the same on every tablet as well.

Integer physics also solve a huge problem related to the issue of copy & paste. The reason we haven’t implemented it yet is because with floating point physics, things can behave differently depending on how far away they are from their origin point. Right now, if you copy a group of parts and paste it somewhere a ways away (or in a different contraption), there is no guarantee that it will behave exactly the same. However, with the new integer physics, this problem is fixed.

Here is an example of the process in action. This is a simple contraption running in the current floating point system, and in the new integer system. Each one was ran, then moved a ways away and ran again. You’ll see that the floating point contraption has a slightly different result each time, but the integer stays the same. It may not look like much, just some bowling balls slightly moved around, but things like this can make a huge difference in how your contraption behaves.

Simple contraption run in both environments
Simple contraption run in both environments
Results of moving the contraption in the current floating point system
Floating point physics give a different result when moved.
Moving the contraption with integer physics. Notice the result stays the same.
Moving the contraption with integer physics. Notice the result stays the same.

 

TL;DR Kevin’s awesome new physics system is coming out very soon, it is going to fix a lot of issues, and you can expect copy&paste to be coming soon as well!

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Holiday Sale & New Video

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Hello! Quick little update today. As many of you probably know, the Steam Holiday Sale just started yesterday. Contraption Maker is participating in the sale, so you can pick it up for 50% off this week. Get it today if you haven’t joined in on the Early Access yet. If you have, why not get an extra copy and gift it to a friend so you can try multiplayer together? :-)

Contraption Maker is 50% off
Contraption Maker is 50% off

We also have a new showcase video. It’s been a while, so I thought it would be fun to make another one of these. This one shows off a bunch of the new sound effects, as well as the new winter background set.

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Alpha 4: Introducing Multiplayer!

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Alpha 4 is out there and ready to go! Grab the update from Steam, or head to our site to buy the Early Access if you want to join everyone else. This update’s main focus is mainly one thing, but it’s big. We now have cooperative multiplayer. This took a lot of effort from everyone involved, so things like more usability improvements had to take a little bit of a backseat this time. Also, Kevin is hard at work on some low level fixes that will allow some awesome, much needed features like cut & paste. This work isn’t quite done yet though, so that will be coming in our next major update. Enjoy a bunch of new sound effects, new scenery pieces, and real time cooperative multiplayer!

Play with friends online
Play with friends online

Multiplayer
This feature has been on our list for a long time, and it’s so exciting to finally get version 1.0 out there. In this very first version of multiplayer, you can create or join a server and build cooperatively with people. This behaves almost exactly like the current “make” mode, but you can play together with up to 7 other people.

This is a very exciting first step. Sean and Keith put some amazing work into this over the last month, and their effort really shows. It may open up the door for future types of online play like puzzle solving or a versus mode. Join some friends, or build with fellow community members and let us know what you think!

Many new sounds
Many new sounds

New Sounds
Contraption Maker is now much less silent. New sounds have been added for the following parts:

  • Whistle
  • Solar panel
  • Lawn mower motor
  • Cat-o-matic
  • Egg timer
  • Generator
  • Lasers
  • Anti-grav pad
  • Cannon
  • Balloon pop
  • Scissors
  • Bellows
  • Egg break
  • Fish bowl
  • Mechanical trampoline
  • Ray gun
  • Toaster
  • Vacuum
Let it snow!
Let it snow!

Holiday Scenery
A new winter themed set of holiday scenery has been added. Play around with snowballs, igloos, and candy canes.

General Improvements
In addition to a number of bug fixes that can be found HERE, a few new features are worthy of giving a little bit more attention:

  • Auto-save backup: After you save a contraption for the first time in make mode, it will now auto-save every 60 seconds. If the game crashes, or you quit without saving, you will have a backup. When reloading a contraption, we check to see if there is a newer auto-save. If there is, you are given the option to load the new version, or your older saved version.
  • Creatures: Adjustments have been made to Tim and his fellow animals. Waldo and Milton will now angle themselves with walls as they walk up them, creatures will now work correctly on conveyor belts, and Tim now has a faster running state that he can be set to. Some of these changes may affect how your contraptions with creatures behave, so be sure to check them out and make any adjustments needed.
  • Official puzzle tweaks: Tweaks have been made to some of the official puzzles to remove some of the more crazy exploits.
  • Text field improvements: You can now move around in text fields with the arrow keys. If you make a spelling error in the beginning of your puzzle description, you no longer have to delete everything in front of it.

Because of the heavy focus on getting multiplayer to work, there are sadly no new official puzzles in this update. However, there are starting to be a lot of really great community puzzles. I strongly encourage everyone to check out puzzles by community member Makies Okami. They are a puzzle machine, submitting over 50 awesome puzzles to the workshop so far. We will continue to create more official puzzles, but in the meantime, you can give Makies Okami’s workshop a visit!

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November 27th Update: Multiplayer & Computers

A programmable contraption made with lasers

Now that Alpha 3 has been out for a couple weeks, what have we been up to? Our main focus has been on getting multiplayer ready for the public to start using. Keith and Sean have been working hard to get all sorts of server business sorted out and working properly so you guys will be able to start building contraptions together! If everything goes according to plan, multiplayer should be in our next big update. We can’t wait to see what everyone will be able to create with multiple people working together.

Testing multiplayer. Floating avatars are other players.
Testing multiplayer. Floating avatars are other players.

Speaking of awesome creations, a few stand out community members have been doing some amazing work since we added lasers into the game. What started as just a few logic gate creations has grown into crazy complicated programmable contraptions (check the header image). There is a thread going over on our Steam forums that is full of some really great posts for anyone interested in Contraption Maker logic and wiring. The game wont be complete until someone makes a full working computer inside of a contraption :-)

Our next update may be a little light on new parts. We have really been focusing on getting multiplayer working, and Kevin has been working on some deep down physics changes. He is doing a big change from floating point calculations to integers. This is a pretty painful process right now, but it’s going to have some great changes on the game. This is going to solve a lot of determinism issues that have still been hanging around, and allow us to implement handy features like copy & paste. The best outcome is that it should allow the game to run the same as we make the move over to ARM chips when we make our mobile version. I can’t say if this change will be in the same update as multiplayer, as it may take longer than expected if other issues pop up. Unfortunately deep down changes like this don’t put much “money on the screen,” but they are for the better, and it’s much better to do them now instead of later.

Finally, we have started a new video series. The “Contraption Maker School” will help guide players through different parts of the game. We have two videos so far, one is an overview of the whole game for brand new players, and the other walks you through the process of making your own puzzle. As we make more of these videos, they should help new players get started making their own contraptions.

 

BONUS NOTE: We are on sale for 50% off this whole week during the Steam Autumn Sale! Go get it!

Now is the time to get Contraption Maker if you still don't have it!
Now is the time to get Contraption Maker if you still don’t have it!
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Contraption Maker Alpha 3 Released

Behold, Alpha 3!

Alright, here it is: Alpha 3! Even more parts for you to play with, some new puzzles, and a lot of usability fixes to make building your contraptions a much smoother process. Grab the latest update from Steam, or buy the Early Access to start playing this awesome new build!

An assortment of new parts
An assortment of new parts

New Parts
New parts have been added, a big portion of which are lasers and their associated parts.

  • Egg: The egg can roll around and be thrown around your contraptions. If it falls too far or gets hit to hard it will break. Try to throw it as far as you can without breaking it.
  • Egg Timer: Set a time and then hit the button on the top or bottom. When time is up, the hand will give a poke.
  • Lawn Mower Motor: Attach a rope and pull the starter. The mower will run forever.
  • Bellows: Hit the bellows with a ball to give a one time gust of wind.
  • Steve the Crocodile: Steve just hangs out and eats whatever comes his way. If he can’t eat it, he will toss it up in the air.
  • Phil the Fish: Phil swims around in his bowl. If you break the bowl, it will attract Waldo.

Lasers

Lasers and associated parts have been added. This is the very first version of lasers, and they do not have final art, but they are functional.

  • RGB Lasers: Standard lasers come in red, green, and blue. They must be plugged in to turn on.
  • RGB Inverse Lasers: Inverse lasers turn on by default. If the sensor on the back is hit by another laser, it will turn off.
  • Mirror: Bounce lasers around with mirrors.
  • Splitter: This will split one laser into two.
  • Laser Outlet: An outlet powered by laser input.
  • Mixer: Mix two lasers to make a new color.
  • Repeater: Extends the reach of a laser. It can also have a delay applied to how long it takes to turn on and off.
New puzzles are waiting to be played
New puzzles are waiting to be played

New Puzzles
A smaller update than last time, but there are 10 new official puzzles. These are all categorized as easy. As we have watched many people play the game, they have asked for easier puzzles to help ease them into the game. We will add more hard puzzles eventually, but until then there are plenty of awesome, hard puzzles in the Workshop.

New scenery parts
New scenery parts

Additional Scenery Pieces
No new scenery sets, but the forest and underwater sets have had more parts added to them. Enjoy playing with new trees, cabins, shipwrecks, and more.

Easier belt and wall selection, and more!
Easier belt and wall selection are just some of the improvements

Usability Improvements
A number of usability improvements have made the game easier to use. The biggest change is how ropes and belts are handled. Ropes and belts can now be selected directly instead of having to first select the part they are attached to. Also, when holding a rope or a belt, all possible attach points are shown to make it easier to see what can be attached to.

This is just a small sample of what has been improved and fixed. Check out this FORUM POST for a full list of changes.

SPECIAL NOTE
There were a number of part changes and physics changes that may affect how your current contraptions run. Some are simple, such as the fuse being moved on the cannon.

However, there were some changes made that fixed a number of physics determinism issues. These are needed changes which help make sure contraptions run the same every time on all sorts of different computers. There is a chance that it can affect some contraptions though, so it would be a good idea to run through your current contraptions to update them.

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November 8th Update: Minecon

Contraption Maker at Minecon

Sorry to leave everyone in the dark last week, I was at Minecon, and it pretty much took all of my time for the weekend. Speaking of Minecon, it went great! It was a good opportunity to get Contraption Maker in front of an entirely new audience. It was a much younger audience, so a lot of them had never heard of The Incredible Machine, and had never played anything like it. Really great to see a whole new generation is ready to embrace the game.

Game progress is still going great, and we seem to be on track for an Alpha 3 release next week. With multiplayer progress going faster than we originally anticipated, Keith has jumped back to the current build to work on some user interface tweaks and bugs. Multiplayer wont be coming in the update next week, but it will be hopefully coming sooner than we thought! Kevin is still adding new parts, and is now working on getting the first batch of laser parts into the game.

A couple new parts in game
A couple new parts in game

I’m working on making a few new puzzles for the update. After watching people play the game at both PAX and Minecon now, I want to add some more easy and tutorial puzzles for those that are new to the game. For people that have never played the game before and don’t understand the concept, it can be very difficult to even solve the easiest of puzzles. Also, that “aha!” moment of solving a puzzle still feels good even if you just have to put down one part. I’ve seen the joy in a lot of people’s eyes in person now, and you can see how excited they get. For those that want super hard pull your hair out puzzles, those will be coming in due time. For now, there are plenty of puzzles being uploaded in the community that are usually harder than the official ones.

For your video this week, I have compiled another collection of community contraptions. The last couple of weeks has seen a lot of new puzzles and contraptions being uploaded. I keep getting amazed at the creativity coming from everyone playing the game. It really is inspiring, and it makes us want to continue working hard to get the best product we can out to everyone.

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October 25th Update: Alpha 3 Soon

Happy Friday everyone! Another week of steady progress of Contraption Maker. Most of the parts that had art finished for them last week are in the game. We now have bellows, Phil the Fish, and Steve the Crocodile to play with. Some concepts for an upcoming batch of parts also got finished, so those will be modeled soon as well.

Concepts for some potential new parts
Concepts for some potential new parts

For the upcoming Alpha 3, we are going to try and get our first batch of laser parts into the game. Lasers are going to have more associated parts than they did in TIM to make them a lot more powerful. That will deserve a blog post by itself to go over what parts we are adding and why. For this first batch of parts though, it will most likely be lasers, mixers, mirrors, and outlets. Just the bare bones parts to get you guys starting to play around with them.

I leave you all with a new video showing off the new parts that we got into the game this week.

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October 18th Update: Bug Fixes & New Parts

Alpha 2 has been out for a little over a week now, and hopefully you guys are having fun with all of the new stuff! Progress has been moving along towards our next major update which should be out in November. We got a hotfix build out last week that fixed some bugs from the Alpha 2 release. Here is a full list of those changes:

  • Fix most of the flickering issue with textfields inside windows when scrolling.
  • Fixed crash when deleting a frame.
  • Fixed bug preventing text from being set
  • Fixed crash when an animation node label was clicked
  • Hide push front / back buttons for ghost nodes
  • Hide push front / back buttons and slider when resizing or rotating.
  • Type (unneeded space) in Electric Generator state
  • Made Remote Bomb Plunger correct set goal state
  • Made Remote Bomb Plunger correct set goal state
  • Made Buckets affected by explosions
  • Fixed Remote Bomb Plunger so the collision shape gets correctly updated
  • Made Steam Whistle recognize goal state
  • Fixed animation tool crash
  • Fixed “Angry Tims” and “The Pretty Good Escape” to be solvable

We just got some art done for new parts coming up, and it’s looking pretty sweet! Here is just a handful of some of the new parts you can expect in our next major update.

Art for some upcoming new parts
Art for some upcoming new parts

 

Keith’s next big project is getting cooperative contraption building working. He just got up his first playable version. We can now work on the same contraption with two different computers at once! There is still a lot a work ahead before this feature hits the alpha for all of you to play with, but it’s still exciting.

Cooperative play between a PC & Mac
Cooperative play between a PC & Mac

That’s it for this week, stay tuned for another update next week. Keep on building contraptions and sharing them on the Workshop for us all to see! No need to be selfish and keep them to yourself. Every day there are awesome puzzles and contraptions uploaded to the Workshop, it’s definitely fun to see.

For this week’s video, enjoy this contraption from community member Extazy Test N°2. He has been putting up some awesome creations, each one seems more amazing than the last. This contraption told a little story, and used the background pieces in an interesting way. A lot of stuff happens behind the scenes so you don’t get to see everything, but sometimes a little mystery makes it fun :-)